Karachi's NED University Alum's AI Startup Named "Most Innovative" at RSA Conference

Securiti.ai has been named "Most Innovative Startup" at RSA Conference in San Francisco, according to media reports. It has been founded by Rehan Jalil, a serial Silicon Valley entrepreneur of Pakistani origin who graduated from NED University located in Karachi. Jalil's startup is taking advantage of the growing global data privacy market being fueled by new regulations like European Union's GDPR and California's CCPA.

In a statement issued after winning the RSA award, Jalil said: “Privacy is a basic human right, and companies want to honor individual rights of privacy and data protection. Privacy compliance and operations are only getting more complex for businesses around the world, and we’re humbled that the judges recognized our vision for AI-powered PrivacyOps and data protection.”

L to  R: Shahjahan Chaudhry, Jahan Ara, Riaz Haq, Rehan Jalil

Securiti.ai, a startup that recently raised $50 million in series B funding, is using artificial intelligence to help companies comply with customer data privacy regulations like EU's GDPR and California's CCPA. The startup has raised a total of $81 million in two rounds since its inception in 2019. Securiti.ai creates digital personas for each individual and finds copies of data shared across systems or with third-party vendors or partners to help companies comply with right-to-be-forgotten laws.

Companies using securiti's software begin by defining their data sources, then send out a bot that gathers customer data across all of the data sources they have defined. Securiti supports links to more than 250 common modern and legacy data sources out of the box. Once the bot grabs the data and creates a central record, humans come in to review the results and make any adjustments and final decisions on how to handle a data request from the customer.

Rehan Jalil is a successful serial entrepreneur. Elastica, his last startup in cloud security space, was acquired by Blue Coat Systems for $280 million. Prior to that, Jalil he founded Wichorus and sold it to Tellabs for $165 million.

Karachi's NED University has produced many successful Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. Raghib Husain, Naveed Sherwani, Safwan Shah, Rehan Jalil and Khalid Raza just to name a few.

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Comment by Riaz Haq on January 13, 2021 at 10:31am

Rehan Jalil's startup named among 25 Machine Learning startups to watch in 2021:


https://www.forbes.com/sites/louiscolumbus/2021/01/10/top-25-machin...

SECURITI.ai – One of the most innovative startups in cybersecurity, combining AI and ML to secure sensitive data in multi-cloud and mixed platform environments, SECURITI.ai is a machine learning company to watch in 2021, especially if you are interested in cybersecurity. Their AI-powered platform and systems enable organizations to discover potential breach risk areas across multi-cloud, SaaS and on-premise environments, protect it and automate all private systems, networks and infrastructure functions.


There are a record number of 9,977 machine learning startups and companies in Crunchbase today, an 8.2% increase over the 9,216 startups listed in 2020 and a 14.6% increase over the 8,705 listed in 2019.
Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and machine learning (ML)-related companies received a record $27.6 billion in funding in 2020, according to Crunchbase.
Of those A.I. and machine learning startups receiving funding since January 1, 2020, 62% are seed rounds, 31% early-stage venture rounds and 6.7% late-stage venture capital-funded rounds.
A.I. and machine learning startups’ median funding round was $4.4 million and the average was $29.8 million in 2020, according to Crunchbase.
Throughout 2020, venture capital firms continued expanding into new global markets, with London, New York, Tel Aviv, Toronto, Boston, Seattle and Singapore startups receiving increased funding. Out of the 79 most popular A.I. & ML startup locations, 15 are in the San Francisco Bay Area, making that region home to 19% of startups who received funding in the last year.

Israel’s Tel Aviv region has 37 startups who received venture funding over the last year, including those launched in Herzliya, a region of the city known for its robust startup and entrepreneurial culture. Please see the Roundup Of Machine Learning Forecasts And Market Estimates, 2020 for additional market research on A.I. and machine learning.

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 22, 2023 at 6:56pm

The rocky road ahead for Pakistan’s start-up ecosystem | fDi Intelligence – Your source for foreign direct investment information - fDiIntelligence.com

https://www.fdiintelligence.com/content/feature/the-rocky-road-ahea...

Alex Irwin-Hunt
February 22, 2023

Based out of the NED University of Engineering and Technology, NIC Karachi is funded by Pakistan’s national technology fund, Ignite, and operated by LMKT, a private tech company which runs two other NICs in the cities of Hyderabad and Peshawar.

Atif Khan, the chairman and CEO of LMKT, says the philosophy behind the incubation centres “was not to create unicorns”, but to act as digital skills development centres: “We are training and grooming a lot of talent in the country.”

NIC Karachi has already incubated more than 250 start-ups, such as ride-hailing app Bykea and London-based proptech platform Gridizen. Kamran Mahmood, the CEO of Gridizen, who recently returned to Pakistan to join NIC Karachi, says he has found it even easier to meet decision makers at large companies in Pakistan than the UK.

“[NIC Karachi] is doing an excellent job of internationalising and progressing the start-up scene in the country,” he says. Data Darbar figures show that Karachi-based start-ups attracted $236.7m of funding in 2022, equivalent to two-thirds of Pakistan's total and almost double the previous year. The financial capital is followed by Lahore ($69.2m) and Islamabad ($41.6m).

-------------------------

In July 2022, Pakistan’s fledgling start-up scene was dealt a major blow. Airlift, a fast delivery start-up that had raised $85m barely a year earlier, said it would permanently close operations due to the “devastating impact” of worsening economic conditions.

“This has been an extremely taxing decision that impacts a large set of stakeholders and an emerging technology ecosystem,” Airlift wrote in a statement. Start-up failures are common in more mature markets, and seen as an integral part of the innovation and disruption process. But the collapse of a company hoped to be Pakistan’s first ‘unicorn’, or start-up valued at above $1bn, rattled the country’s nascent tech scene.

Several advisors, investors and entrepreneurs tell fDi that Airlift’s failure has caused Pakistani start-up founders and investors to shift their focus away from pursuing “hyper-growth” to building more “sustainable” business models.

Similar to the caution permeating the global tech and venture capital (VC) industry, start-up funding in Pakistan has dropped considerably. Start-ups in Pakistan raised just over $15m in the final quarter of 2022, the worst volumes since the first quarter of 2020 and 79% lower than the same period a year earlier, according to Data Darbar, which tracks the Pakistani start-up scene.

“Given the global slowdown and Pakistan’s macroeconomic and political challenges, things are tough right now and will likely remain so in 2023,” says Aatif Awan, the founder of early stage venture fund Indus Valley Capital, which is focused on Pakistan and had invested in Airlift.

Several acute challenges currently facing the country — including dwindling foreign exchange reserves, security issues, blackouts and severe flood risks — are causing many young Pakistanis to leave. Despite significant obstacles, those involved in Pakistan’s ecosystem believe that the country’s demographics and rapidly digitalising economy make it an untapped opportunity with potential for long-term growth.

Democratising technology

When Shamim Rajani co-founded her software development business Genetech Solutions in Pakistan’s commercial capital Karachi back in 2004, she remembers a “lot of stubbornness” from the government and local corporates towards the IT sector.

“Pakistan wasn’t [even] ready for women CEOs in the tech sector then,” remarks Ms Rajani, adding that she had to look for global clients in countries like the US. “Saying these words today, I don’t even believe it myself.”

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